Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Changing of the Seasons


Overlooking the Mississippi River.  Illinois on the left, Missouri on the right.
On a bright October afternoon, my brother Don took us on a drive along country roads that Mom had traveled many times over her 82 years.  The sky was glorious, one of those brilliant skies that changes tones of blue throughout the day.  The leaves had begun the magic that seeped from green to red and gold. 

...right there!
Everything held the sense of being so temporary.  The leaves and all their beauty would be a sodden mound of brown mulch in a few weeks.   

The sky would be filled with winter clouds.  And my mother—what would she be in weeks’ or months’ time?  That was an unsaid question that floated over us along this drive along country roads and past harvested fields.

“I used to wade in the stream right there!” Mom exclaimed as we pulled off the road and down to the gravel stream bed.  Don and I ambled over to the water, talking in low tones about Mom, while she stayed in the car.  Don picked up a stone and skimmed it along a shadowy deep drop in the stream. 

“No, not there!  Further down…” Mom called out.  As fragile as she was and no matter how much each breath cost her, Mom would tell us the right way to go.
...you used to play there, Susie....

Later, we drove by a faded ancient house, one that leaned whichever way the wind was blowing.  The whole house gave the illusion that it was held up by the fact that the window frames were still square, and the front door was shut.  Other than that, the poor place was a lost cause.  

 “Oh, you used to play there, Susie,” Mom sighed.  Her hand pointed out the window.  “Over there Anna had a picnic table and we used to watch you kids while we…”  

 I looked at the hand with its transparent paper-thin skin, bulging blue veins, and bones.  So gnarled and painful now, those hands had held mine all my life.

After driving along back roads I never knew existed and hearing about the people who once farmed that field, people who lived in a house now a heap of rubble, we took Mom back to her home. 
Country road, goes on forever

While she napped in her recliner, I looked out her kitchen window, seeing some rain clouds moving in from the west.  The color of the air itself had transformed to gray.  I took a photo of a tree outside the kitchen window. 

“I wonder how many more times I will look out this window?”

The clouds moved in, the rain was almost weeping, and my mother slept for the rest of the afternoon.  I stood at the window, watching the leaves fall, and listening to the sound of the clock ticking on the piano.


P.S.  This was posted a year or so ago.  my daughter is having surgery and I will be busy. Ithought this deserved a re-visit.  Susan Kane

17 comments:

  1. The trip and being able to be in her own home must have been very comforting to her.

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  2. That brought a lump to my throat knowing you won't look out that window at that tree again.
    Well written.

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  3. Susan, this is just beautiful. You have a real sense of place when you write and I just love that.

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  4. Susan, this was so touching. I am sitting here now remembering my mom's last days and how we did not want to let her go. They, like yours, were beautiful but difficult times.

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  5. What a beautiful tribute and touching piece. ;)

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  6. That's a trip you'll always treasure
    Lx

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  7. The seasons of the year speak to us so forcefully with smells, sounds, colors, taste, and the touch of rain or snow or wind or sun or falling leaves. No wonder that we use these seasons to describe the changes within ourselves and our loved ones.

    The changes you saw on that Minnesota day were taking place within your mother and within youself, Susan. The blessing is that you were so acutely aware of this. Because of that you were able to store up memories against the coming winter.

    Peace.

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  8. The seasons of our lives. And the memories we have near "the end" of the journey. You captured it all so beautifully, nostalgically, lovingly in this piece of writing that is haunting and provocative. It shows how much you loved your mother. And the photographs heighten the prose. I love photographs in posts.
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

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  9. Susan this was beautiful. What a tribute and memory. I loved the pictures. I guess we were on the same wave length this week weren't we?

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  10. Susan, me again. Thank you for commenting on my Tuesday posting. I think the reason I survived is that I had Arthur. That made all the difference.

    Peace.

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  11. Sad and beautiful. You're a talented writer.

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  12. Thank you. Nice to read this again, and remember...

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  13. Beautiful post. Touching and so evocative of the fleeting beauty of all moments. Thank you for reminding me to savor each and every one. This is my first time visiting your blog. I absolutely love your writing. I'll be back!

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  14. Dear Susan, yes, this posting did deserve a revisit. It is so poignant and so filled with beauty that it makes my stomach clench. The arc of age and aging. Peace.

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  15. Hi Susan,
    A most notable revisit on that thoughtful posting. Hope you have a peaceful time while you are out of town. I note I seem to be looking into the future, for your posting is dated October 10, which happens to be my son's birthday.
    All the best and thanks for this.
    Gary :)

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  16. Oh Susan, this really resonated with me........... and made me sad...
    My mum is a fairly strong-willed, independent and stubborn 83 year old - just the other day I commented to my sister that she's beginning to look a little frail... as the eldest of 14 children she has a special inner strength and she has already buried half of her siblings too...

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  17. To all who visited and revisited this post: Thank you for your intuitive and heart-felt responses. I was visiting my one remaining aunt this past week, and we went "home" to put flowers on Mom's grave. I too had a lump in my throat as I was there, and as I re-posted this writing. Memories are strong, love remains, and seasons change.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!